It was all fairly predictable. You didn’t have to have special powers to recognise that whoever was appointed to chair the abuse inquiry would come under intense scrutiny and that some would excavate some tenuous reason why that person might be unsuitable.
For some, this is not a serious attempt to uncover the truth about child abuse over the last 50 years and the culpability of the authorities but a conspiracy theory, a game and to perpetuate that game anyone who was appointed as chair would have to be undermined.
But it’s not a game and many of those that are trying to make it into one are not survivors of child abuse themselves. They are just the empty vessels making the loudest noise.
Most survivors of child abuse don’t want their entire life to be overshadowed by their experiences in childhood. Most want closure and that can only happen if they are listened to now because survivors felt voiceless at the time they were abused and they want recognition and where possible, justice.
The Home Secretary was wise enough to announce the appointment of Graham Wilmer and Barbara Hearn as panel members. Frankly, the composition and balance of the Inquiry panel as a whole was always more important than who chaired it.
The announcement that Prof Alexis Jay, author of the recent report into abuse in Rotherham, will act as an expert adviser to the panel should also reassure.
More important than the composition and balance of the Inquiry panel will be the Terms of Reference and I await their publication.
But that didn’t stop people digging. So, here are the rather tenuous reasons I’ve seen the conspiracy theorists suggest should disqualify Fiona Woolf from chairing the Inquiry.
1) Fiona Woolf is Lord Mayor of London (one year term) and therefore an establishment figure.
2) In that capacity (not as an individual) she has been appointed as a member of a committee that Leon Brittan is on.
3) She is a tax lawyer and Jersey is a tax haven.
4) She once sponsored Lady Brittan £50 for charity.
Can we please give Fiona Woolf a chance ?
This is not a game!